June 25, 2021

New Colorado Law Provides Tax Credits to Help Fund Converting to Employee Ownership

NCEO founder and senior staff member

Colorado has become the first state to pass a law that helps cover some of the costs to convert to employee ownership. On June 23, Governor Polis signed into law H.B. 21-1311, a bill that makes sweeping changes to Colorado tax law, notably a provision to provide $10 million annually in tax credits over the next six years to fund the professional service costs of conversions to employee ownership. The funds could be used to convert to an ESOP, an employee ownership trust, or a worker cooperative. ESOPs can qualify for a credit equal to 50% of the conversion costs up to $50,000; cooperative and employee ownership trusts can get up to $25,000 (see page 21 of the bill).

With an existing state-funded outreach program that helps companies convert to employee ownership and one of the most active and effective nonprofit state employee centers (the Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center), Colorado has created a national model for how states can help move employee ownership forward.